3-on-3 Overtime: Why it Will Help the Avalanche

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3-on-3 Overtime Purpose

Jan 21, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) scores a goal past Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) in a shootout period at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The goal of the rule change is the following, according to NHL.com.

"The 3-on-3 overtime is designed to create more space on the ice, allowing for more goals to be scored and more games ending in overtime rather than the shootout, similar to the success that the American Hockey League experienced this season."

Over the past years, fans and team representatives have voiced their negative opinions on shootouts, stating that they turn a team sport into a one-man show. While that seems a little bit extreme, as there can only be one player scoring in sudden death overtime as well, it is true that the shootout turns the focus to a team’s goalie or shooter, rather than the whole team.

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The American Hockey League’s rule was slightly different. Teams started off with 4-on-4, before taking one additional player off the ice, if no goal was scored within the first three minutes of OT. The effect, however, was the same the NHL is hoping for now.

According to NHL.com, 75 percent of AHL games that were tied after regulation time in the 2014-15 campaign were decided in overtime. Therefore, only 25 percent of games saw the game-winning goal scored in a shootout. In the season prior to that, 64.7 percent of games that were tied after regulation time saw the game end in a shootout.

The NHL had 55.6 percent of games tied after regulation time heading into a shootout. While that number is better than the AHL’s, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Next: 3-on-3 OT Tactics